French advertising agency group Havas has wrenched the prestigious Jaguar account from London-based WPP.
Ford's struggling Jaguar operation chose a Havas agency to handle its advertising, dealing a key loss to rival WPP even though the UK- based group will keep some of the automaker's business.
The deal involves at least £65 million in billings, though the value was not disclosed.
"The decision to conduct an agency review was part of our strategy to refocus our market positioning and external communications on Jaguar's unique values," said Bibiana Boerio, Jaguar's managing director.
Havas's New York-based Euro RSCG unit beat out WPP's incumbent Y&R as well as sister WPP agencies JWT and Berlin Cameron/Red Cell.
Also in the running were Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners, M&C Saatchi and Leagas Delaney.
The loss will be scrutinised by the advertising industry because of WPP's long relationship with Ford.
Paris-based Havas, the world's sixth largest advertising group, recently lost one of its own high-profile clients, Intel Corp., but posted strong fourth-quarter results as it copes with a corporate raider who has bought a large stake.
Its new Jaguar campaign is expected to be unveiled later this year, the agency said.
Jaguar, despite sales growth and high quality, has struggled to keep pace with larger rivals in the premium car sector.
Although Havas will handle Jaguar's creative business, WPP will keep Jaguar's direct marketing and media-buying business, a spokeswoman for the car maker said.